Conversations retrieved from deleted Facebook messages appear to support sacked NT minister Nathan Barrett’s story that he was in a consensual relationship and a victim of revenge porn, his lawyer Peter Maley has said.
Mr Barrett was forced to resign from the Territory’s ministry and also declared he would not recontest August’s election after a woman gave graphic videos he had sent to her of himself masturbating.
Claims that they had become close but the material was unsolicited, and he had manipulated her when she was vulnerable.
The paper included his counter-claims that they had been in a relationship, which ended in March.
Mr Maley said more and more material, which Mr Barrett said he deleted, was being retrieved.
“It clearly shows a consensual and reciprocal relationship – on the face of it, intimate and sexual,” Mr Maley said.
The private messages in Facebook have been sent between two people under the names of ‘Steven James’ and ‘Kendra Morris’ – which Mr Barrett has claimed are pseudonyms used by himself (as ‘Steven’) and the woman involved (as ‘Kendra’).
It is not clear yet whether it can be proved the woman – who has yet to be identified in the media – was using the ‘Kendra Morris’ Facebook account.
Seen excerpts of retrieved private messages, which appear to show a relationship that had become sexual in nature.
“You’re so sexy Steven, I can’t wait to get hold of you,” Kendra wrote. Steven replied with “come get some”.
The ABC has attempted to contact Mr Barrett and the woman involved.
Barrett’s wife publicly supporting her husband
Mr Barrett’s wife Rebecca has publicly thrown her support behind her husband, and posted an image of her stomach on Facebook.
It is believed to be a reference to the original news story that included a partial image of the masturbation video in which Mr Barrett’s stomach could be seen.
“In sheer disgust of the NT News and in support of my husband, here’s my belly shot. Stick that on the front page!” Mrs Barrett wrote.
Under pressure to kick Mr Barrett out of the party, the Country Liberals Party (CLP) hired a data retrieval expert to fight suggestions the Member for Blain had sexually harassed and exploited a constituent.
The case has turned into a political saga with the CLP publicly questioning the motives of the woman, saying she quit the party and had since been appearing at Labor events and activities.
Labor denied the woman was a party member and said in a statement she had simply attended some community events.
But it has turned into a mess for Labor, and leader Michael Gunner has been under pressure to address the media on the issue.
He initially called for Mr Barrett to be dumped from the party on the basis of the still unsettled claims of both the unidentified woman and Mr Barrett.
“Because she identified as a victim, I am treating her as a victim,” Mr Gunner said on Monday.
He denied suggestions of a Labor conspiracy behind the saga, but admitted he had not asked anyone in his party about it.
“If there was, well, there isn’t a conspiracy… so I know by not knowing,” Mr Gunner said. “There is no conspiracy.”
His media team has so far declined interview requests.